Sunday, 31 May 2015

80mph now default UK motorway speed limit . . .

___________________________________________________________________

80mph now default UK motorway speed limit

Cited at:
http://www.motoringresearch.com/car-news/80mph-now-default-uk-motorway-speed-limit-0826947932


Nearly half of cars, motorbikes and vans broke the 70mph UK motorway speed limit in 2013, according to official Department for Transport statistics.

This means the effective default speed limit on Britain’s motorways is now 80mph says the AA – because motorists know they won’t be prosecuted for it.

“One is rarely if ever stopped by the police and prosecuted [for driving at 80mph]”, AA President Edmund King told the Daily Mail. “Therefore it is almost accepted as the common law speed limit.”

There are, however, concerns that because drivers are not being prosecuted for speeding on motorways, they are more willing to break the 30mph speed limit in residential areas – something that is statistically much more dangerous.

“If drivers are of the opinion that there is some flexibility around speed limits, the danger is that when it comes to lower speed limits [motorists will think they can also break that speed limit]… we don’t want drivers to have that same flexibility.”
Lorry speeding leads to limit increase

The government has recently revealed plans to increase the speed limit for HGVs on single carriageway roads from 40mph to 50mph. This follows stats that revealed 73% of lorries broke the current speed limit – compared to 26% for buses and coaches and just 7% for cars.

“The lower level of compliance with [the speed limits] is symptomatic of their being set at the wrong level compared to other limits,” said transport minister Baroness Kramer.

However, despite statistics that show nearly half of motorists speed on motorways, there are no plans to change any other British speed limits: the government’s proposal to increase the motorway speed limit to 80mph will remain shelved.










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Saturday, 30 May 2015

SPEED LIMIT INFORMATION . . .

___________________________________________________________________

SPEED LIMIT INFORMATION

Cited at:
http://a9road.info/safety-statistics/speed-limit-information/

What is the law regarding the signing of speed limits in the UK?

The Traffic Signs Regulations and General Directions 2002 and the guidance contained within the Traffic Signs Manual Chapter 3 are followed by Roads Authorities when it comes to the signing of speed limits. The essence of the strategy is that speed limits signage should be consistent and clear across the whole of the country. 

The national speed limit applies generally, except where a roads authority, by Order, determines that a lower speed is suitable, in which case it will be appropriately signed at the beginning and end of the area of restriction and will also include repeater signs throughout this area.

Where street lighting is introduced within an area where the national speed limit applies national speed limit repeater signs are placed at the first lighting column and then regularly thereafter through the lit area.

What does this mean for the A9?

The A9 for its entirety between Dunblane and Inverness is subject to the national speed limit.

What is the national speed limit?

When you enter an area that is signed by a diagonal black stripe on a white background, you are driving under national speed limit restrictions. For most vehicles this will mean 60mph on single carriageway roads and 70mph on dual carriageway roads. It is also 70mph on the motorway network unless otherwise indicated. The national speed limit for your vehicle is dependent on the classification of your vehicle.

What about the 50 mph HGV pilot?

The one major change for the A9 is that a pilot project is being introduced to raise the speed of Heavy Goods Vehicles which have a laden weight exceeding 7.5 tonnes on the single carriageway sections between Perth and Inverness from 40 to 50mph. Because the speed limit is changing for this class of vehicle in relation to the single carriageway sections of this road, there will be regular signing to highlight this change along its length. This means that vehicles of this class will have a consistent speed limit for the length of the A9 between Dunblane and Inverness. This change will come into effect from the start of Tuesday 28 October 2014, to coincide with the average speed camera system going live.

Further information on the 50 mph HGV pilot is available in our FAQ section.
Why do you not just sign the A9 at regular intervals to remind everyone of the speed limit?

There must be a consistent policy across the UK in relation to signing of speed limits and the rules in the Traffic Signs Regulations and General Directions 2002, supplemented by the guidance in the Traffic Signs Manual focuses on this consistency indicating that to introduce changes in some cases but not others would result in inconsistency and driver uncertainty.
What are a drivers responsibilities?

The Highway Code Rule 124 & 125 are very clear on the responsibilities of a driver to know the speed limit for the class of vehicle that they are driving.

What about Signing for the Average Speed Cameras?

Signing for the location of speed cameras is not legally required but is considered best practice. Every camera site on the A9 will be clearly signed on its approach ensuring that no driver will drive into an enforcement area without first seeing this visible reminder. On some of the longer stretches between cameras there will also be repeater signs.

What is the speed limit on the A9 for the stretches where there is an overtaking lane?

These stretches which are commonly known as 2+1 are classed as single carriageway and drivers often make the mistake in thinking that the national speed limit for dual carriageways applies to these stretches of the A9. To be clear for most vehicles this will mean a maximum of 60mph on these stretches.












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Friday, 29 May 2015

Roundabouts: signals and position . . .

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Roundabouts: signals and position 

The Highway Code applies to England, Scotland and Wales and is essential reading for everyone. 

Rule 186

When taking the first exit to the left, unless signs or markings indicate otherwise signal left and approach in the left-hand lane keep to the left on the roundabout and continue signalling left to leave. 

When taking an exit to the right or going full circle, unless signs or markings indicate otherwise 
signal right and approach in the right-hand lane keep to the right on the roundabout until you need to change lanes to exit the roundabout signal left after you have passed the exit before the one you want. 

When taking any intermediate exit, unless signs or markings indicate otherwise select the appropriate lane on approach to and on the roundabout you should not normally need to signal on approach stay in this lane until you need to alter course to exit the roundabout signal left after you have passed the exit before the one you want. 

When there are more than three lanes at the entrance to a roundabout, use the most appropriate lane on approach and through it. 













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Thursday, 28 May 2015

Child restraints . . .

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Child restraints 

The Highway Code applies to England, Scotland and Wales and is essential reading for everyone. 

Rule 100 

The driver MUST ensure that all children under 14 years of age in cars, vans and other goods vehicles wear seat belts or sit in an approved child restraint where required (see table above). If a child is under 1.35 metres (approx 4 feet 5 inches) tall, a baby seat, child seat, booster seat or booster cushion MUST be used suitable for the child’s weight and fitted to the manufacturer’s instructions.

Laws RTA 1988 sects 14 & 15, MV(WSB)R, MV(WSBCFS)R & MV(WSB)(A)R









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Wednesday, 27 May 2015

Vehicle towing and loading . . .

___________________________________________________________________

Vehicle towing and loading

The Highway Code applies to England, Scotland and Wales and is essential reading for everyone.

Rule 98

Vehicle towing and loading. As a driver
  • you MUST NOT tow more than your licence permits. If you passed a car test after 1 Jan 1997 you are restricted on the weight of trailer you can tow 
  • you MUST NOT overload your vehicle or trailer. You should not tow a weight greater than that recommended by the manufacturer of your vehicle 
  • you MUST secure your load and it MUST NOT stick out dangerously. Make sure any heavy or sharp objects and any animals are secured safely. If there is a collision, they might hit someone inside the vehicle and cause serious injury 
  • you should properly distribute the weight in your caravan or trailer with heavy items mainly over the axle(s) and ensure a downward load on the tow ball. Manufacturer's recommended weight and tow ball load should not be exceeded. This should avoid the possibility of swerving or snaking and going out of control. If this does happen, ease off the accelerator and reduce speed gently to regain control 
  • carrying a load or pulling a trailer may require you to adjust the headlights 
In the event of a breakdown, be aware that towing a vehicle on a tow rope is potentially dangerous. You should consider professional recovery.

Laws CUR reg 100 & MV(DL)R reg 43










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Tuesday, 26 May 2015

Schmitz is trailer of choice for Sparks . . .

___________________________________________________________________

Schmitz is trailer of choice for Sparks

Cited at:
http://transportoperator.co.uk/2015/04/24/schmitz-is-trailer-of-choice-for-sparks/


Sparks Transport of Glastonbury has ordered 53 aluminium fixed-roof curtainside trailers from Schmitz Cargobull, in a deal worth more than £1 million.

Sparks has previously been a Schmitz Cargobull customer, and has renewed its relationship thanks to the introduction of the fixed-roof curtainsider to the German manufacturer’s range.

Schmitz Cargobull trailers now account for approximately 60 per cent of Sparks Transport’s 155-strong trailer fleet.

The new trailers will operate across the UK carrying a variety of palletised goods and have been funded through Cargobull Finance, Schmitz Cargobull’s own finance company.

Jonathan Sparks, MD, Sparks Transport, says: “We’ve bought from Schmitz Cargobull in the past because we like the quality of the trailers they supply. With their fixed-roof curtainsider now available, we’ve now reaffirmed our relationship and have been very pleased with the results.”

Supplied in Sparks’ striking green and yellow livery, the new trailers have been specified to comply with DIN EN 12646 Code XL load security regulations.

Developed specially for the UK and Irish markets, the fixed-roof curtainsider is manufactured in Schmitz Cargobull ‘s Altenberge plant, which can build up to 200 trailers a day – enabling the company to react quickly to even large fleet orders. It is one of nine Schmitz Cargobull manufacturing plants in Europe.

While the trailers for Sparks are equipped with European-spec front bulkheads with a tilt board, the 13.6m trailers are also available with a specification which includes wraparound curtains and a new aluminium front bulkhead with galvanised steel front and rear corner posts. This is favoured by many UK operators as it enables standard-spec forklifts to load through the side aperture, without requiring a side-shift capability.













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Monday, 25 May 2015

Classic "Middle Lane" arguments . . .

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Classic "Middle Lane" arguments

Cited at:
http://www.howmotorwayswork.co.uk/arguments.htm


Next time you're down the pub arguing with someone as to why they should use the left lane, point them to this page. Here are a list of the classic idiot's middle lane arguments and their appropriate response.

1. If I'm doing 70mph then anyone overtaking me is breaking the law.

I should point out first and foremost that overall speed is not the issue with lane discipline. It's relative speed that determines which lane you should use and there should be no arguments containing a specific speed as the focus point. I'll let this one go and argue with the 70mph comment:

Consider that the motorway is full with traffic in the middle and right hand lanes, all doing a nice, safe, brainless 70mph as described in the argument. The idiots in the middle lane refuse to use the left lane because "anyone overtaking me is breaking the law so it's OK to be in the middle lane", even if it is clear. As a result the whole motorway system is at two-thirds capacity if no one uses the left lane. That point alone should be enough.


Secondary points include: It's not an individual motorist's responsibility to uphold the law - that's the job of the Police. No two speedos read the same so there will be constant changes in speed above and below the 70mph in question and therefore the argument is flawed right from the word go. The naivity of the 70mph statement is also massively embarrassing - people do speed on the motorway whether it's 5mph or 25mph, live with this fact and don't pretend that you can argue your middle lane stupidity by resorting to this sort of selfish attitude.

The fact is that you use the left lane unless overtaking and it really is as simple as that. It's ironic that the simplest of rules is incomprehensible for the simplest of brains.

2. I stay in the middle lane because I don't want to keep changing lanes as this is dangerous and pointless most of the time if I have to keep coming back out to overtake slow traffic.

Changing lanes is not dangerous. Changing lanes without knowing what is around you is dangerous. If you don't know what's around you then you should call it a day and take a bus instead. Not changing lanes because it is pointless shows bad discipline and a complete lack of respect for other road users. We share the roads - so should you.


3. If I use the left hand lane then I get blocked in.

Shame on you! If you get blocked in you don't deserve to be able to overtake. Most road users can vary their speed to fit into appropriate gaps in traffic in each lane when they need to overtake. If the only way you can get into another lane is to stay at a constant speed and force your way in then you confirm everything that is written in this site. Sad but strangely satisfying at the same time.

4. If your car is in the centre lane and there is an incident where avoiding action is required then you have two escape options, to either the left or right.

Don't make me laugh. You're just as likely to hit an incident in the middle lane as any other lane, maybe even more likely. Will you never use the right hand lane because this decreases the escape routes? Ridiculous. In the left lane you could use the hard shoulder to escape the incident.

5. Lorries tramline the left lane and this can throw a car to one side or the other, which is dangerous.

To begin with, there can't be more than 5% of all left lanes that are tramlined in the UK. If it's so bad then move to the middle once you notice that the road is tramlined. You can also straddle the bad tramlines or drive in them without issues. Calling them dangerous is ridiculous and if you can't handle surface undulations then don't drive at all.













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Kumho returns to UK CV tyre market . . .

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Kumho returns to UK CV tyre market

Cited at:
http://transportoperator.co.uk/2015/04/20/kumho-returns-to-cv-tyre-market/



South Korean tyre manufacturer Kumho is to return to the UK truck market, with a dedicated division headed by former Bridgestone CV specialist Steve Miller and an all-new direct distribution network headquartered at a new facility at Magna Park, Lutterworth.

Mr Miller said: “The relaunch is providing an unrivalled chance for us to re-appraise how we promote both the tyres and the company to the truck market. It is also a golden opportunity for the customers to help create a partnership in which they can dictate how they wish to be supported. We are now effectively at the end of the first of four phases of development, and I’m extremely encouraged by the progress made to date.

“The product is far more competitive than ever before and, I can honestly say, now as good as any I have encountered. We have maximised casing quality, improved tread compounds and introduced some highly-effective new tread patterns. Along with keen pricing, these upgrades will ensure the lowest cost per kilometre.”

The initial offering is a three-tyre range: KMA12 is a block tread pattern tyre with stone ejector bar for construction and forestry, KRS04 is a super-single steer tyre for regional and long-haul, and KRS15 is s standard steer tyre for regional operations.











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Sunday, 24 May 2015

Alloy Bodies invests in portable weigh pads from VWS . . .

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Alloy Bodies invests in portable weigh pads from VWS

Cited at:
http://transportoperator.co.uk/2015/04/28/alloy-bodies-invests-in-portable-weigh-pads-from-vws/



Manchester-based commercial vehicle body builder Alloy Bodies Ltd has reported time and cost savings since deploying the Apollo PT300 portable weigh pads from Vehicle Weighing Solutions Ltd (VWS), to ensure its vehicles are not overloaded.

Founded in 1969, Alloy Bodies works with 12 different vehicle manufacturers, and produces up to 3,000 bodies a year for chassis cabs ranging in size from 3.5 tonne to 26-tonne vehicles.

As part of the whole vehicle type approval (WVTA) scheme, manufacturers are required to ensure that every product matches the specification, performance and marking requirements outlined in the documentation, also known as Conformity of Production. Alloy Bodies now has the ability to weigh its vehicles in-house prior to delivery, thereby saving the time and resources associated with sending vehicles to a local weighbridge.

Jim Charlton Jones, technical and homologation engineer at Alloy Bodies, said: “We are more than happy with the products supplied to us by VWS, which have allowed us maintain our Conformity of Production commitments and reduce the time and cost implications of sending vehicles off-site to a weighbridge.”

“VWS also gives a service they should be proud of, with response times and turn around on issues that really make you feel like a valued customer.”

The Apollo PT300 weigh pad is designed for weighing vehicles statically axle by axle, either by cable or wirelessly, and each pad is rated to 10,000 kg. Claimed advantages include accuracy of within one per cent, and a large, easy-to-read LCV weight display.

Jim added: “It’s useful for our customers to know the weight of each vehicle unladen so they know what payload they can get. With these portable weigh pads we can even visit customer’s premises if required.”

Julian Glasspole, managing director at VWS, said: “Alloy Bodies is a leading body builder with an impressive range of products and we are delighted that they selected our weigh pads.”

“The accuracy of the Apollo PT300 weigh pad is hard to beat plus it’s easy to use, compact and sturdy. It’s built using high resistance avionics grade aluminium alloy and mechanically strong.”

VWS is part of the AW.co.uk group of companies, which specialises in the design, manufacture, installation and servicing of load cells, weighing and traffic monitoring systems.











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Saturday, 23 May 2015

USA - Government scales back plans for license plate-tracking program . . .

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Government scales back plans for license plate-tracking program

Cited at:
http://www.engadget.com/2015/05/05/govt-scales-back-ihs-license-plate-scanning/?ncid=rss_truncated


To say that there's been some concern about the Department of Homeland Security's on-again, off-again license plate-tracking initiative is something of an understatement. Despite fresh resistance from the ACLU, the agency is persisting with the project, but has revealed that it will walk back on some of its more far-reaching requirements. The original idea was to implement a nationwide system of license plate scanners that could track a suspect's movements, making it easier for the Immigrations and Customs Enforcement Agency to follow and apprehend criminals. Now, however, the folks at Nextgov have uncovered a document, dated February 18th, that scales the scope of the setup to a minimum of 25 states.

The project brief also mandated that the private contractor chosen to supply the system should supply 30 million driver records a month -- a figure that's now down to just 6 million. When Nextgov asked the reasoning behind the changes, unnamed officials said that it was to enable more companies to be able to bid for the contract. That way, outfits that have less sophisticated, and possibly cheaper, data-capturing hardware can tender alongside larger outfits like Vigilant Video, which nearly won the contract in 2012. As far as the ICE is concerned, the proposed system isn't being scaled back per se, although it's clear that it may not be as all-powerful as officials had originally wanted.














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Friday, 22 May 2015

Tennant Transport switches to SAF axles . . .

___________________________________________________________________

Tennant Transport switches to SAF axles

Cited at:
http://transportoperator.co.uk/2015/05/01/tennant-transport-switches-to-saf-axles/



Tennant Transport of Forth has taken delivery of its first order of flat and tipper trailers with SAF axle and suspension systems as standard.

The haulier has purchased an initial 12 flat trailers and two tipper trailers as additions to its existing trailer fleet.

“We have had running gear on our trailers for a number of years from an alternative axle supplier, but found the spring trailer arms were breaking after one year on the flats,” said John Tennant, director at Tennant Transport. “Plus we had constant issues with u-bolts on the tippers coming loose.

“Once we heard about the benefits of the SAF Intradrum from Craig Lawton, the area manager for Scotland at [SAF-Holland distributor] IMS Ltd, we were more than happy to switch,” he continued.

“The proven integrated suspension system from SAF does not have spring or u-bolts and will reduce our maintenance costs for the future, which is very good news for us as we continue to expand.”

The SAF Intradrum is an integrated, cost-efficient and easy-to-maintain air suspension system, says IMS, with strengthened components for severe loads and a claimed 40 per cent fewer parts than rivals.

SAF Intradrum products come with a competence guarantee of 1 million kilometres up to six years on the complete unit for on-road versions, and 500,000 kilometres up to three years on the complete unit for the off-road versions.











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Thursday, 21 May 2015

4 things you should know about Freightliner's self-driving truck . . .

___________________________________________________________________

4 things you should know about Freightliner's self-driving truck

The self-driving truck debut this week, becoming the first of its kind to receive an autonomous license for use on public roads.

Cited at:
http://www.cnet.com/news/4-things-that-you-should-know-about-freightliners-autonomous-inspiration-truck/#ftag=CAD590a51e


This week, at a dramatic event atop the Hoover Dam, Freightliner and Daimler pulled the wraps off of their Inspiration truck, the first self-driving commercial truck in the world to receive a full license to operate on public roads. The autonomous truck is here, at least in the State of Nevada it is.

The Inspiration truck features a system called Highway Pilot, which uses forward looking stereoscopic cameras and radar sensors to give it an autonomous autopilot mode when cruising on the highway. The truck can steer to stay between lane markers and adjust its speed and braking to maintain a safe following distance behind other cars on the road all while the driver is free to do other things.

Now that we've all got all of the Transformers and Maximum Overdrive jokes out of our collective systems, I've picked out four things that you should know about the first coming of the autonomous truck.

It will help speed along autonomous car development.

Every mile than an autonomous vehicle spends robo-riding is another data point that helps automakers improve the next generation of self-driving cars. And no vehicle racks up more miles per year than a commercial truck. Much like how a Formula racer pushes performance technology to the limit to make your sports coupe just that much sharper, Freightliner's autonomous truck can be a goldmine of autonomous driving fine tuning gets the self-driving Mercedes-Benz of the future here sooner, safer, and more reliable.

The human driver is still the most important element.

The Freightliner Inspiration is a Level 3 autonomous vehicle. That means that the truck can cruise in its Highway Pilot mode while the driver does other things, but it still needs a human being in the seat. There's yet still a lot of important driving for the driver to do. This includes negotiating surface roads, exits and interchanges, and everything else that's not highway cruising. The human in the seat is also responsible for setting and supervising the Highway Pilot mode, stepping in when conditions (like snow) prevent autonomous driving, and for negotiating the truck into loading bays.

Additionally, the driver retains full control over the vehicle at all times. Simply grabbing and turning the wheel or tapping the brake pedal immediately and instantly overrides the computer control.

This isn't some robo-truck that will replace truckers and take jobs away from people. (At least, not yet.) Rather, autonomous trucks like the Inspiration are a tool to make truckers' jobs easier and safer. Freightliner compares Highway Pilot to the autopilot system used on commercial airplanes every day, which handles basic cruising, but hasn't replaced the need for a pilot.













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Wednesday, 20 May 2015

New Parking Signs For LA Are Simple And Brilliant . . .


___________________________________________________________________

New Parking Signs For LA Are Simple And Brilliant

Cited at:
http://www.ubergizmo.com/2015/04/new-parking-signs-for-la-are-simple-and-brilliant/?utm_source=mainrss



Yes, it is a saying that is true and worthy that one should not waste time trying to reinvent the wheel, but the thing is, just how many things, concepts, processes or devices out there that are as perfect as a wheel, and no longer needs any kind of improvement? If one were to figure out parking signs in downtown Los Angeles, it might be an extremely challenging experience since there might be up to half a dozen signs attached to a single pole, where you would take quite a while to figure out whether you can park there or not.

Husting, a senior transportation engineer over at the Los Angeles Department of Transportation, decided to change the way things work so that parking signs will end up being a whole lot more comprehensible. Close to two years from the initial effort, a pilot program of signs is being rolled out, where across the span of the next half dozen months, the city will see a cool hundred or so new signs installed around the downtown area in order to test out a design which will summarize everything into a single easy-to-read grid.

If you are a LA native, what do you think of the changes made, and should such signs be standard all over?









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Tuesday, 19 May 2015

World’s First Self-Driving Semi-Truck Hits The Road . . .

___________________________________________________________________

World’s First Self-Driving Semi-Truck Hits The Road

Cited at:
http://www.ubergizmo.com/2015/05/worlds-first-self-driving-semi-truck-hits-the-road/?utm_source=mainrss


We’ve heard of self-driving cars, but what about self-driving trucks? You might recall that over the years, Daimler has been working on a self-driving truck where the goal is to have the trucks drive themselves which in turn would allow the drivers to rest, catch up on some sleep, and ultimately reduce the amount of accidents caused by truck drivers who have been driving for days on end trying to make deadlines.

The good news is that it looks like that future is here, sort of, as the Daimler Freightliner Inspiration has officially hit the road, making it the world’s first self-driving semi-truck. The truck is based on the regular 18-wheeler sold by Daimler around the world, with the main difference being that this particular model has been given a hi-tech makeover that allows it to drive itself.

The truck has the ability to drive itself and it will be a cautious driver too. For example when encountering situations it can’t handle, it will beep and alert the driver that perhaps it’s time for them to take over. If the driver does not respond, say they’re asleep, then the truck will slow down gradually before coming to a stop.

The truck will also be outfitted with stereoscopic cameras that helps to read lane lines, and will also be equipped with short and long range radar that scans the roads for obstacles in front of it, up to 800 feet. The Freightliner Inspiration is currently still considered a test vehicle, but Daimler feels that it’s safe enough for public roads with the Nevada DMV agreeing as well.

However there are still plenty of tests that need to be done, not to mention various regulatory hurdles, all of which are expected to take another decade or so before the truck becomes available for the public to purchase, but it looks like we’re well on our way.















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Monday, 18 May 2015

Police charge man they say was drink-driving at 121mph with children in the car . . .

___________________________________________________________________

Police charge man they say was drink-driving at 121mph with children in the car

Cited at:
http://www.yorkpress.co.uk/news/12941366.Police_charge_man_they_say_was_drink_driving_at_121mph_with_children_in_the_car/?ref%3Darc



A MAN accused of drink-driving at 121mph with his children in the car has been charged. 

Humberside Police clocked the driver on the M62 near Goole. 

They tweeted this on Saturday morning:


On Saturday night, officers said the driver had been charged with drink-driving and dangerous driving:















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Sunday, 17 May 2015

TomTom CEO says its maps destined for use in self-driving cars . . .

___________________________________________________________________

TomTom CEO says its maps destined for use in self-driving cars

Cited at:
http://in.reuters.com/article/2015/05/04/us-tomtom-autos-idINKBN0NP0DZ20150504



A TomTom navigation device is seen in this photo illustration taken in Amsterdam February 28, 2012.

Dutch navigation company TomTom aims to become a main provider of technology for self-driving cars as it charts its way back to success after seven lean years, chief executive Harold Goddijn said.

Goddijn told Reuters that an overhaul of TomTom's digital mapping architecture lies behind a renaissance that has seen its automotive division win big contracts in recent months, prompting analyst upgrades and a 40 percent surge in its shares.

He said carmakers are now betting on TomTom as one of the few companies besides Google capable of providing location data good enough and fast enough to meet the safety requirements for computer assisted driving -- and ultimately, self-driving cars.

"We are seen by our customers as the guys with the right ideas on how you do those things," he said in a interview, relishing the company's comeback story.

A rare example of a global consumer electronics brand to come out of Europe in the 2000s, TomTom went into a tailspin after overpaying for digital map-maker TeleAtlas in 2008.

The market for its main product, personal navigation devices, entered a brutal decline. Prices fell and margins were crushed as cheaper competitors entered an increasingly saturated market for dashboard-mounted GPS systems, and smartphone navigation apps offered an even cheaper substitute.

With the PND market stabilizing, Goddijn thinks TomTom's other business lines are poised for a new cycle of growth.

Analysts' enthusiasm has been fired by contract wins with carmakers, including two with Volkswagen this year as well as deals with Fiat, Hyundai and Kia.

DIVERSIFICATION

But TomTom's revenue base has also diversified. Its consumer product offerings have expanded to include fitness watches and a line of 'GoPro'-style action cameras launched this week.

It also licenses its digital maps to tech giants. One of TomTom's few bright moments during the dark years came in 2012, when Apple, seeking to end its reliance on Google, choose TomTom's maps to use in its own navigation app, starting with the iPhone 6.

And finally, TomTom has been quietly building up a "telematics" business, providing the telecommunications systems used in car fleet management, which has become the largest of its kind in Europe's fragmented market.

In the interview, Goddijn said the unit, which reported sales of 110 million euros ($124 million) in 2014, has the potential to grow sales at more than 20 percent per year for the coming five years without acquisitions.

But TomTom's mapping technology is at the core of investor demand that has given the company a 1.8 billion euro market capitalization despite 2014 profits of just 22.7 million euros.

The company's maps can now be redrawn on the fly, integrating feedback from cars on the road, and then shared immediately with other drivers.

"No one else has that," Goddijn said, flatly.

'EXCITING AND SCARY'

Cars are increasingly equipped with multiple sensors, not only GPS positioning and mobile phone connections but radars, cameras and driver heart-rate monitoring systems. Lidar (reflected laser imaging) may also be added in future.

Goddijn said the overhaul of TomTom's digital mapping architecture "gives us a lot of confidence" this proliferation of data can be processed in a way that ensures users' safety.

"It's exciting and it's scary, because millions of cars will come and there's tons of data going to be produced," he said.

The biggest question mark hanging over TomTom's strategic future is Nokia's plan, announced this month, to sell its map-making arm HERE, which has U.S. roots. Google, TomTom and HERE are the three major digital map-makers with the potential for use in self-driving cars.

Though TomTom has won almost all major automaker contracts renewed in the past year, HERE still has more than 70 percent of the automotive market.

Potential buyers include tech giants Apple and Uber, or less realistically, Microsoft, which could have taken HERE when it bought Nokia's smart phone operations. Google is also mentioned although it already has its own technology.

A consortium of automakers who view Google as an undesirable rival is also seen as a realistic possible buyer of HERE, as are private equity buyers who could build the business up -- or wind it down. The worst case scenario for TomTom would probably be a takeover of HERE by navigation arch-rival Garmin Ltd.

What does Goddijn think will happen?

"That question is too complex to handle," he said. "Even if I wanted to I couldn't give you the answers, because a lot of it depends on who it is and how they want to handle it."

He said his focus for now is on continuing TomTom's winning streak with automakers.

"Let's face it, our market share is not where it should be. There is an incumbent and we need to take market share away."












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Saturday, 16 May 2015

Scots teenager becomes first person in Britain to pass practical driving test.. using SATNAV . . .

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Scots teenager becomes first person in Britain to pass practical driving test.. using SATNAV

Cited at:
http://www.dailyrecord.co.uk/news/scottish-news/scots-teenager-becomes-first-person-5651372

GRANT Ferguson, 17, ditched his L-plates after passing the revised practical exam with the help of satnav at the Bishopbriggs Driving Test Centre.


A SCOTTISH teenager has become the first in Britain to pass his driving test - using a SATNAV following a shake-up of the practical examination.

Grant Ferguson, 17, ditched his L-plates after passing the revised practical exam with the help of a GPS navigation system.

The Bishopbriggs Driving Test Centre was selected as one of 20 in the UK to trial the new format test, which involves following a route set up on Satnav for the first 20 minutes of the examination.

Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) expects 1000 learner drivers will take part in the revised tests which will continue until the end of the year.

Grant, of Bearsden, said: "I had been learning to drive for about a month when the opportunity came up to try out the new test. I felt like I was part of an important change."

"Introducing the satnav into the test is about training to make sure that you're only listening for guidance and not staring at the screen too often."

"I'll definitely be buying a satnav because that's what I know and it gives you a bit of freedom to go where you want."

"I've wanted to drive for a very long time. I was a bit relieved that I didn't have to do the reverse around the corner in the test."

"The test is meant to imitate what you're going to be doing in real life such as reversing into a parking space at the shops."


Scot teenager Grant Ferguson, 17, from Bearsden, who has become the first person in the UK to pass his practical test using a Sat Nav, following a test shake up

If the trial is successful, it could be the biggest shake up of the test since the written theory exam was introduced in 1996.

The changes could see the three-point turn and reversing round a corner scrapped.

These will be replaced with more commonplace manoeuvres such as reversing out of a parking bay.

Candidates will also be asked safety questions while on the move, instead of at the start, and asked to operate switches such as screen heaters, according to the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA).


Scot teenager Grant Ferguson, 17, from Bearsden, who has become the first person in the UK to pass his practical test using a Sat Nav, following a test shake up

Drew Nicol, Grant's teacher at the Popular School of Motoring in Kirkintilloch, East Dunbartonshire, said: "My driving school was one of the first to register for the trial."

"I think it's a good idea and much more realistic.

"Drivers are using the satnav more and more now as a means of direction and the new test is designed to reflect this.

"The tester will be looking to see, for example, if the driver is looking too much at the satnav instead of listening to it."

Motoring groups have urged caution in removing manoeuvres like a three-point turn, saying it can be essential if satnavs lead drivers down a dead end road.











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Friday, 15 May 2015

Claims A9 average speed cameras have resulted in INCREASE in deaths . . .

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Claims A9 average speed cameras have resulted in INCREASE in deaths

Cited at:
https://www.pressandjournal.co.uk/fp/news/inverness/563158/speed-cameras-improving-safety/



A9 speed cameras have improved safety, according to the Scottish Government.

The A9 average-speed cameras were under fire again last night amid claims there has been a year-on-year increase in the rate of fatal accidents on the notorious road.

Figures released yesterday also revealed the number of people caught breaking the limit over the past three months has quadrupled compared with the first three months after the devices went live.

Campaigners have again challenged the Scottish Government’s claim the controversial “yellow vultures” will improve safety on the Inverness-Perth trunk road.

But transport chiefs insisted the £2.5million system was already proving its worth and changing motorists’ behaviour for the better.

New police statistics indicate that the number of vehicles speeding on the road has dropped from one in three to one in 15 since the cameras were introduced in October.

In the first three months after the devices were switched on, 298 drivers were caught breaking the limit.

But the figure for the last three months soared to 1,466 – an increase of 385%.

But Mike Burns, of the A9 Average Speed Cameras Are Not the Answer campaign, claimed: “Journey times are taking far too long and we’ve had more deaths this year than in the same period last year.”

“We’ve had three deaths. They will say that has nothing to do with speed cameras. What they forget is that with the death statistics they used to justify the introduction of speed cameras, most had nothing to do with speed.”

The three fatal accidents remain the subject of police investigations.

A Transport Scotland spokeswoman said: “We will continue to do all we can to make the A9 safer.”

“Traffic volumes are rising, journey times are more reliable and fatal accidents are not, as has been suggested, at an all-time high.”

The figures revealed that between October 28 last year, when the cameras were introduced, and April 20 a total of 1,744 vehicles broke the speed limit.

That, according to Transport Scotland, was “an extremely high level of compliance when compared to previous enforcement methods”.

It said the figure equated to “an average of fewer than 10 per day across the whole of the enforcement area based on an average daily traffic volume of over 10,000 vehicles between Perth and Inverness, and 24,000 vehicles between Dunblane and Perth”.

A9 Safety Group chairman, Stewart Leggett, said: “The monitoring equipment on the route clearly indicates there has been a significant shift in driver behaviour.”

“More importantly, the number of vehicles travelling at excess speed – 10mph above the limit – is down from one in 10 before installation and has been maintained at a level of around one in 250 since the cameras were introduced.”

He added: “There has been a rise in vehicles exceeding the thresholds, but this is not unexpected.”

Research carried out by specialist Aecom on behalf of Transport Scotland concluded there had been a reduction in unsafe and undesirable driving, and an increase in motoring “enjoyment, satisfaction and safety” since the cameras were introduced.

Police will reveal next week how many motorists had been fined as a result of being caught on camera on the A9.

The system was controversial before it was installed, with critics claiming it would have little impact on safety and increase journey times, while disrupting traffic flow on the road.

The Scottish Government has committed £3billion to dualling the full length of the route between Inverness and Perth.











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